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Pinter at the double

By Brentwood Gazette  |  Posted: May 09, 2012

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Cramphorn Theatre, Chelmsford, Wednesday, May 16, 8pm. Tickets £12/£10 at www.chelmsford.gov.uk/ theatres or on 01245 606505.

A DOUBLE bill of Harold Pinter plays is in store at the Cramphorn Theatre, Chelmsford this week.

European Arts Company present two classic short, black comedies, The Dumb Waiter and The Lover by the Nobel prize winning writer who was one of the most influential British dramatists of the 20th century.

In The Dumb Waiter, two hit men, Ben and Gus, are waiting in a basement to do a job. Strange messages keep appearing via a serving hatch making the assassins curious about who's sending them, what they're waiting for and who their next victim is. A fantastic mix of comedy and menace, this classic Pinter one act play from 1960 was revived in 2007 by Lee Evans and Jason Isaacs. The Cramphorn production offers a great chance to see this engrossing play in an intimate setting.

The Lover is about Richard and Sarah, a married couple who seem to have settled lives and routines but things are not quite what they seem as fantasy and reality blur.

As with many of Pinter's plays, The Lover has serious and comic sides to it and can be taken either way, leaving the audience to puzzle over its meaning.

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  • theseathesea  |  May 20 2012, 2:04PM

    In these days of fast talk and even faster action, it can be difficult to settle down for two plays that work at an altogether slower pace and require attention to detail. However this was only to be expected from Harold Pinter. In The Dumb Waiter, the two actors both gave superb performances as hit men waiting for the call. Their dialogue came alive in the second half of the play when requests for food arrived in their basement room, despite their original thoughts that the house was deserted. The underlying current of anxiety versus strength ran throughout the play and reached a fitting conclusion that some may have foreseen. In contrast, the conclusion of The Lover was left to the audience's interpretation. This play was much more upbeat and lively, with a musical introduction to some scenes. The dialogue was extremely well crafted to enable any of a number of scenarios to be imagined, and there were some very clever metaphors! It was a very enjoyable evening, and brought back memories of the days when plays as good as this were even on television. It is exactly the sort of smaller scale production that the Cramphorn Theatre was designed for, and they should be encouraged to keep up the good work. Elaine Bryan